California Mom Stalks and Terrorizes Couple Who Outbid Her for Her Dream House

A San Diego woman has been convicted of stalking a couple who outbid her for her dream home.

Kathy Rowe, a 53-year-old once named one of “San Diego’s best 50 mothers,” viewed about 100 homes before finally settling on a Spanish-style bungalow in Carmel Valley, San Diego.

“I walked in, it was my house,” she said. “And when I found out we didn’t get it, it was devastating. It was heartbreaking.”

According to the National Post, Rowe snapped when she didn’t get her dream home. Special education teacher Jerry Rice and his wife Janice Ruhter, a microbiologist, purchased the house for $779k, inspiring Rowe to begin an escalating campaign of abuse.

After they moved in with their four children, Rowe signed them up for magazine subscriptions and sent them $1,200 worth of adult diapers. So begins a laundry list of strategically planned tortures perpetuated against the new homeowners:

  • Rowe relisted the home as for sale on several websites, so prospective buyers showed up at the door periodically.
  • Leaflets were distributed throughout the neighborhood to warn residents a sex offender had moved into a home. Then, on Valentine’s day, neighborhood wives received romantic cards with Rice’s signature forged onto them.
  • An ad was posted online to promote a New Year’s party for high school teachers at their home.
  • On Independence Day, their home was advertised online to be giving away free fireworks.
  • Rice found postings online advertising sex with his wife, her picture accompanied by the heading “Carmel Valley Freak Show. Come see me during the day while my husband is at work.” Rowe, messaging online as Ruhter, sent the address to one man and said “I like to be surprised and have a man just show up at the door and force his way in the door.”

As the incidents worsened and several men even came to their home looking for the much-advertised sex, the couple took self-defense classes and installed extra security precautions.

The National Post reports on Rowe’s arrest:

Ms. Rowe was caught after police traced the ads on sex websites to her computer. She was initially charged with solicitation to rape, and identity theft.

She pleaded guilty to stalking and was sentenced last month to one year of home electronic surveillance and five years probation. A judge ordered her to stay away from the couple for 10 years.

Her lawyer said Ms. Rowe’s behaviour had been affected by sleep deprivation incurred from caring for her daughter, and the stress of her husband being diagnosed with stage four cancer.

The story developed last year, but a 20/20 episode aired on Feb. 13th looking deeper into the case.